When Liverpool trotted out in the second half against Spartak Moscow, supporters of the Merseyside giants could be forgiven for being a bit nervous, despite leading 3-0. A mere two weeks prior, Liverpool surrendered a 3-0 halftime lead to Sevilla, en route to a disappointing draw, thereby leaving Liverpool’s Champions League fate in the balance.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp challenged the lads in Red to learn from their past mistakes, and less than two minutes into the second half, Sadio Mane put Liverpool up by 4 with a stunning strike. James Milner, filling in at leftback, picked out Mane’s run at the far post, pinging a cross to the diminutive Senegalese international. Mane caught the cross with a perfect volley, sidefooting an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Liverpool would not look back, scoring another 3 for good measure to secure the top spot in the group.
Of Liverpool’s 23 Champions League Group Stage goals, Mane’s volley is among the best, and UEFA is recognizing this fact by short-listing it, along with other stunning strikes from Cenk Tosun, Gareth Bale, Antoine Griezmann, Edin Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy, for the Best Goal of the Group Stage award.
Liverpool supporters can watch all the goals (and vote for Mane’s) here.
Mane and Mohamed Salah have each earned individual plaudits from the Premier League for Player of the Month (August and November, respectively). And last week Salah was named BBC’s African Footballer of the year, besting his Senegalese teammate. This award would only be further recognition that our attacking players are among the best in Europe.